Indonesia coach Alfred Riedl has called on his charges to ensure they finish off their 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup Group A campaign on a high by beating Laos on Friday.
Garuda, who have picked up just one point from their opening two games, still have a mathematical chance of qualifying for the semi-finals, although they would need to beat the Laotians by a four-goal margin and for second-placed Vietnam to lose by three goals to already-qualified Philippine – and then hope to have scored more goals than the Vietnamese.
Such a scenario is extremely unlikely given Group A hosts Vietnam are in the driving seat to finish second as they only need a point to do so, while the Indonesians are currently reeling from their worst-ever defeat at the tournament after being beaten 4-0 by the Azkals on Tuesday.
To add to Riedl’s woes, he will be without the services of a couple of players in Friday’s game at the Hang Day Stadium, but is hoping his team can ensure they do not finish the group stage without a victory to their names.
“We are looking forward to this match against my former employers Laos,” he said. “Hopefully, we can land a win so we don’t go home completely empty-handed.
“I would be happy to just win the match against Laos because we are not currently in a situation where we can think about [winning by] a high score.
“We have to win as [the morale in] our team is very down.
“We have two players out due to injuries – our striker Sergio van Dijk and our midfield player Imanuel Wanggai. They will not be on the list tomorrow [Friday], but the rest are okay.”
Riedl, who also confirmed – according to the tournament’s official website – that he will be parting ways with Indonesia after the tournament, went on to play down his side’s chances of progress further by claiming he did not believe Philippines would go on to beat Vietnam by a convincing margin.
“For the match between Philippines and Vietnam, I am expecting a close match with a close result,” the Austrian added.
“I don’t believe either one of the teams can win by a big margin.”
Meanwhile, Laos have little but pride to play for after becoming the only team so far to have been eliminated after two matches – following defeats to Philippines and Vietnam.
Like Riedl, Thim Xad boss David Booth has demanded that his players make sure they finish the group stage with something to show for their efforts.
“Both teams are in a very similar situation tomorrow [Friday],” he said.
“At this moment, we have no points and two losses and our goal difference is very poor, but we also don’t want to go home empty-handed.
“I think we proved in the last game [a 3-0 loss to Vietnam] if we have to defend, we can defend.
“We could probably have kept the game at 1-0, but we decided at 1-0 we might as well try to score.”